Kopitar on track for Sunday return - LA Kings Insider

Kings center Anze Kopitar knew immediately that something was wrong when he braced himself from a fall during last Sunday’s 5-2 win over the Columbus Blue Jackets at Staples Center.

“I think at first I thought it was actually a little bit worse because my whole arm went numb, but then it kind of got back,” he said. “It was just one of those really bad stingers I get. But the severity, it wasn’t that bad, I guess.”

The numbness “was gone pretty much right after,” according to Kopitar, though it was a startling injury for a player who entered the season having missed only 18 games during the first eight years of his NHL career. Of the seven non-lockout seasons he has participated in, the dynamic and durable center has participated in all 82 games five times.

“When I landed on the ice it’s kind of scary when your whole arm gets numb. It’s not a very great feeling,” he said. “I tried it a couple times after, I didn’t have a whole lot of power in me. It came back pretty quick, a couple days after. I felt like I had pretty good strength, but again I had to be a little bit cautious to not overdo it again.”

During Saturday’s practice, Kopitar wore the same color practice jersey as Marian Gaborik, Dustin Brown and Justin Williams. Though Gaborik said he is “very close” to returning, Kopitar is the more likely bet to draw into the lineup for Sunday’s game against the Carolina Hurricanes.

“I’m planning on it unless there is something really drastic that happens,” he said. “But I don’t think I’m going to be doing anything this afternoon. Hopefully it stays that way and hopefully I feel like that tomorrow.”

The Kings, who have been outscored 11-4 during a five-game trip that has started with an 0-2-1 record, will welcome him with open arms. Though the team’s ability to direct play towards the attacking end hasn’t been an issue during five-on-five play on this road trip, the Kings’ leading scorer for seven straight seasons leads the team with a +17.2% Corsi percentage relative to his teammates.

“I think you always want to help your teammates. And times like this where you drop a couple in a row, you want to get back as quick as you can,” Kopitar said. “But there are guys in here that keep me in check and don’t make do anything stupid. That’s a good thing, obviously.

Anze Kopitar, on whether he has ramped up his practice routine gradually:
Yeah, I don’t think it’s anything different than anyone else that’s coming back. You just try to do more and more every day and see how it feels and hopefully not having a setbacks and it’s been going pretty well so far.

Kopitar, on whether he and Marian Gaborik ride stationary bikes while scratched:
Yeah, I was competing in the Tour de France.

Kopitar, on rehabbing with Marian Gaborik, whom he has built chemistry with:
It’s kind of hard to build chemistry when you’re the only two people on the ice. But you just try to work on different stuff and try to work on it individually a little bit more than when you’re in regular practice. It felt good.

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Adrian Kempe

#9 | 6′ 2″ | 195 lb | Age: 21

Born: September 13, 1996
Birthplace: Kramfors, SWE
Position: LW
Handedness: Left


Kempe was selected by the Kings in the first round (29th overall) in the 2014 NHL Draft.

Alex Iafallo

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Born: December 21, 1993
Birthplace: Eden, NY, USA
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Anze Kopitar

#11 | 6′ 3″ | 224 lb | Age: 29

Born: August 24, 1987
Birthplace: Jesenice, SVN
Position: C
Handedness: Left


As the 11th overall pick in the 2005 NHL Entry Draft, Kopitar became the first Slovenian to play in the NHL. Kopitar has spent his entire NHL career with the Kings, and following the 2015–16 season, was named the Kings’ captain. Noted for both his offensive and defensive play, Kopitar was awarded the Frank J. Selke Trophy as the best defensive forward in the NHL in 2016.

Drew Doughty

#8 | 6′ 1″ | 195 lb | Age: 26

Born: December 8, 1989
Birthplace: London, ON, CAN
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Handedness: Right


Bio: Doughty is a Canadian defenceman who was selected second overall by the Kings in the 2008 Draft. Doughty made his NHL debut in 2008 as an 18-year-old and was named to the All-Rookie Team. He is a two-time Stanley Cup champion with the Kings, a two-time Olympic gold medallist with the Canadian national team, and a Norris Trophy finalist.

Jeff Carter

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Born: January 1, 1985
Birthplace: London, ON, CAN
Position: C
Handedness: Right


Carter began his hockey career playing in the Ontario Hockey League in Canada before joining the AHL and playing for the Philadelphia Flyers. He was then traded to the Colombus Blue jackets before joining the LA Kings in 2012, where he has since won two Stanley Cups with the Kings.

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Birthplace: Milford, CT, USA
Position: G
Handedness: Left


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